|Developer:||JJ & DJA|||||Release Date:||1988|||||Systems:||Amiga, Atari ST, ZX Spectrum, CPC, C64|
This week on Super Adventures, the long awaited 'screenshots and writing' part of my Frost Byte article! Only five years late.
It took me a while to figure out exactly what I was doing with this video game website of mine. I eventually realised that people are happier when there's a 'Read on' button they can click to satisfy their curiosity, but for the first few weeks I'd occasionally post a single title screen or screenshot I liked and then call it a day. So this grumpy cyclops has been staring out at people from my site with basically zero context since Feb 4th 2011.
But I can now reveal that this is a port of a 1986 ZX Spectrum game, brought to the Amiga by someone called J. Jameson. I could also make a joke about him being Spider-Man's bastard of a boss at the Daily Bugle, but I'm one 'J' short. They have the optimal number of 'J's to be porn star Jenna Jameson though.
Okay I've got a TWANG meter, a box of pants, and the title written down the sides of the screen to make sure I don't forget. It could be in a window to help keep the frame rate up (it does seem pretty slick), but my guess is that if you took the border away it'd be the same resolution as a Speccy game.
I didn't crop the bottom of that ampersand by the way, you're not missing a row of pixels, that's just how it looks.
It's lucky that whoever put that cell there apparently forgot to lock it. It's also lucky I figured out that pulling down on the joystick picks up pencils and then loads them, otherwise I wouldn't be able to shoot these bouncing heads. Not that shooting them actually does anything, but I feel safer when I have a gun in my hand. Uh, head.
For my next trick I need to somehow get my tube under the bouncing head. It's a pretty narrow gap, but I have faith!
This time it says 'SAVED' on the HUD, so I guess I'm supposed to be pulling a Cool Spot and rescuing all his little buddies from cells on the way out.
Right, I'm going back to the Amiga version now and giving this another try. I always knew I wasn't going to get anywhere in it, but I'm not giving up on the first screen.
Man, there's nothing I hate more than inconsistently invulnerable bouncing heads. Now I can't tell if an enemy's killable or not without firing off some of my limited ammo at them.
I've no idea how that astronaut managed to build this indoor igloo with all these drips and evil heads around. He must have had more patience than me, that's for sure. So much that he froze to death while admiring his work.
Alright, I need to get through on my next try or I'm out of lives.
It took me another set of lives to manage it mind you, as I game over'd, but I got through in the end. There's no continues or passwords, and definitely no saves, so once I'm out of lives I'm sent right back to my cage. Which is bad.
It's worse on the ZX Spectrum game though, as I couldn't even make it past the first raindrop after like 15 tries. Speccy games, man.
Look at that tangled cyclops snake monster, he thinks this is all hilarious. I think I'm getting bored waiting for the proper title screen cyclops to show up.
By the way, I mentioned earlier that the Amiga version was programmed by a guy called J.Jameson. He's definitely not going to be played by J.K. Simmons in a movie any time soon, but you may have actually heard of the guy, as he's Jools from Sensible Software.
|Cannon Fodder (Amiga)|
Frost Byte was actually Jools' first Amiga game apparently, after he did a bunch of work on the C16. Oh I should mention that this screenshot is closer to what Amiga 500 games typically look like. Things got a lot better for the system when good pixel artists got involved and programmers figured out how to get the most out of the machine.
|Ruff 'N' Tumble (Amiga)|
I want to keep going with Frost Byte but I'm kind of hypnotised by this GIF now. I think I'll just sit here and stare at it for a minute.
That air-slinky move is how I get around in the air by the way. This guy's not the most manoeuvrable platformer hero when airborne (or ever). I was trying to get over to that enticing amber Turrican gem, but I guess I started off too far to the right.
I was scared to eat it at first in case it replaced my weapon, but fortunately my firepower's intact. So I'll be able the blast the clown puke and clear my exit route. I'm just hoping the blue gem gives me a super jump or else I'm not sure I'll make it up there.
Where are all these wizards trying to get to in such a hurry anyway? Wait, what am I thinking? They're stuck in a ZX Spectrum game! Of course they want to get out.
It does seem like a shame that I'm going to miss out on seeing all the other weirdness in the game, but it's not. Because I'm not. The game cycles through all of its levels on the title screen, so if I just leave it going...
At least I'm assuming it's the final screen. It's got "WELL DONE" written on it so that's good enough for me.
I have to be honest, I was expecting Frost Byte to be absolutely terrible, but I kind of enjoyed it for what it is.
The visuals look a bit ass but they're very readable and I never really felt like it was the game's fault when I got my tube exploded. Also you get to play as a tube, and that's pretty... weird. Awkward too, but not as much as it might seem from my GIFs. The most annoying thing to me was that I couldn't shoot while moving because I couldn't be sure if the bullet would go forwards or straight up in the air.
Other than that it's a fairly typical 8-bit computer style platformer, with fairly typical weirdness, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone really. But I don't regret giving it a try either.
Anyway, leave a comment if you feel like it! I consume your feedback to restore my lifeforce, plus it's also nice to read what other people think.